Sunday, September 30, 2007

And So It Is

I leave New York today. As for the disappearing blog act, I've been a little busy saying goodbye to the people and places I love here.

Be back soon...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Youtubing: Lucky Three

This enjoyable cover of "Between the Bars" by Metric

led me to a wonderful short film called Lucky Three. I like it, it shows a light-hearted side of Elliott Smith that I'm not used to.

Elliott Smith - Between the Bars

That cover of "Thirteen" is simply gorgeous.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Black Kids Rock

There's this great passage in "Life is a Mixtape" where Rob Sheffield describes the undying appeal of the boy-girl band. Jacksonville's Black Kids aren't Sheffield's anecdotal Human League, but they know what time it is.

Black Kids - I've Underestimated My Charm (Again)

Lead singer Reggie Youngblood’s saccharine lyrics “you’re too much sugar for my sweet tooth” need a little something: that's right, they need a woman's touch. The coos and lalalas with equal parts doo wop and 80s kooky synths stir things up.

Visit the Kids’ Myspace page for more downloads. Props to Pitchfork for the intro, and here's a great interview with members of the group.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Repicturing The Past

It looks like I won't have time to check out the Contemporary Caribbean Art exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, which is really too bad. But I got to see a fantastic Kara Walker series that I've never seen before at MoMA today. I'll take what I can get.

From Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated). 2005. One from a portfolio of fifteen lithograph and screenprints, composition

Walker is a historical revisionist artist akin to a Willie Cole or a Bettye Saar. Her pop-up books depicting jarringly crude slavery relics are exceptional, but I love the playfulness of this set of lithographs in particular. Walker's trademark black profile cutouts become the focal point of pages taken from Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War. Rewritten, with Walker's stamp of approval it seems.

The entire exhibit, Repicturing the Past/Picturing the Present, is worth a look. Conceptually the images are all linked through their attempts to rethink accepted historical accounts. It's up till November 5.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Rock Me Now

Metric's disaffected anti-anthems have been the soundtrack of my life lately. Seeing them in concert last night at Webster was amazing.. Emily Haines is electric.

Metric - Hustle Rose

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

43 Things

Came across this website called 43 Things yesterday. After setting up an account, you can post your to-do list of life goals for all the world wide web to see. “Start my own business” and “eat healthier” are popular goals. “Move to New York” is a big one too. It’s a fascinating social exercise, sharing your hopes and dreams with complete strangers. You can even “cheer” people on as they work to achieve their lists.

Declarations become all the more powerful in written form, and maybe a quasi-anonymous setting allows people to be more truthful with themselves and what they want out of life.

So far, I've listed 6 things that I want to do. Aside from my lifelong goals of finally dressing up for Halloween (will 2007 be the year?!) and traveling around the world, one thing goes without saying.

I want to live the heck out of life. I want to live it out.

Metric – Live It Out

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

This is Really Happening

"Shit!" the usually genteel middle-aged editor who sits in my corner of the office exclaimed. (Homeboy is also growing a goatee, maybe he's going through some things, I don't think I want to know.) "There's like, smoke coming out of Rockefeller Center!" We all raced to our shared floor-to-ceiling window.

The now collective panic that arises from any sign of smoke or explosion in the city quickly subsided. It was nothing serious. We all lingered for a minute longer out of human curiosity. Shortly after the stir, I met a friend in the lobby to grab lunch. And poof, the sky was clear and all the commotion was gone without a trace in a New York Minute. It almost made me wonder if it happened at all.

Sometimes I feel like that with my decision to leave New York. But this is it. This is really happening.

Ryan Adams - This Is It

If you haven't signed a petition for the release of the Jena 6, you can do so here. This is an injustice for all of us. If you are unfamiliar with the cases, this is a great place to start.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Random Saturday

After lecturing us on the glory days of transistor radios, wilderness man tried his best smooth voice for size. "Chaka Khan, let me rock you, let me rock you, Chaka Khan," channeling Melle Mel surprisingly well.

I suddenly felt this out-of-body urge to shriek the words "Baby, baby, when I look at youuuuuu!" in response.

A failed sing-along followed. In spite of everyone's bewildered looks, wilderness man and I bonded over our mutual love for the goddess that is Chaka Khan.

And watermelon drenched in vodka.

You're welcome to a yummy taste test.

Chaka Khan – I Feel For You

Yet another reason to love Chaka, she plays the drums! Check homegirl out.

Those earrings and that dress are something fierce.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Somehow I'm Not Impressed

I wish I had bells and whistles for you. This is my 100th post after all. But I don't. Last night's Interpol show at the Garden was a bust.

The first half of the show was miserable. Openers The Liars and Cat Power were all wrong for both the venue and the crowd. The crowd. Yes, the immature belligerent drunk boys were quite annoying. But I can't hate the fact that Interpol's music is reaching so many people. This is probably what they've dreamed of, their shot at the big time.

Interpol sounded terrific. The show went more like a grand sponsored listening party for a few thousand of your closest strangers than an actual concert.
"Thank you, thank you so much," Paul would say intermittently. I think it was more relief than gratitude, like 'We didn't fuck this up, people actually showed! Alright! High five y'all.' But what am I saying, these dudes don't even speak to each other.

Carlos D. is such a rock star. I wonder if he practices in the mirror, that guitar flip thing he does, awesome.

Pitchfork has some great pictures from a show the fellas did in Boston, as well as a fun interview with Paul Banks, where he declares that drummer Sam Fogarino is "the shit." Yes indeed, that drum solo at the end of the show twas fantastic.

I'm so glad they played a lot of songs from Turn on the Bright Lights, still one of my fave records. This is one of the tunes they played during an encore (TWO encores! Check Hunter for zee set list.)

Interpol - NYC

Friday, September 14, 2007

Meet Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Last night I went to see writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at one of those Barnes & Noble "Meet the Authors" events. In addition to answering questions about her writing processes and inspiration, Adichie read excerpts from her latest novel, Half of a Yellow Sun (which I'll get to, after I finish Edwige Danticat's latest.) Funny that I will be reading these two works back to back, as both deal with preserving memories of moments in time that have often gone unquestioned and unsearched. "I wanted to digest the time period," Adichie said, the time being the Biafran war in Nigeria, a deathly three year conflict that hasn't really been examined in a modern context. "My book has become reason to answer questions," and what greater success for a historical novel is there really.

Adichie is an incredibly engaging orator and answered the more staid and trite questions with excellent poise. "What does it mean for you to be named 'the daughter of Achebe?' and 'how does it feel to be identified as an African author above all else?' Both don't really seem to be choices. Adichie let that be known, but she understands that her role comes with "baggage" as well as a responsibility to show the other side. "I hope [my work] complicates the way that people see Africa, " as Half of the Yellow Sun begins in a University town in a professor's home, not one's everyday picture of Nigeria. I wished the interviewer probed a bit further, as Adichie seemed incredibly against the notion of one distressed Africa, yet was a part of Vanity Fair's Africa issue, which depicted the continent as a very cohesive and uniform identity. But that's neither here nor there.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a great emerging literary voice, and I hope to hear and read what else she has to say in the future.

This was a tad different from most of the "Meet the Writers" sessions I've been to, in that the entire hour wasn't dedicated to the wonderfully talented Adichie but also to Craig Finn of the Hold Steady. Um, yeah. Not knocking Finn necessarily, but it was certainly a stretch in attempting to connect the two creative minds. At one point, the interviewer was completely reaching into thin air to combine the two with statements like, "It seemed like both of you had to leave home to find yourselves," or something like that, then again, "it seems like both of you almost thought you had to ask permission to do what you wanted to do." Whatever. I simply do not understand the appeal of this Craig Finn dude. He seems like a nice guy, very personable and charming, but I don't get it. At all. I mean, there's just no melody to his songs. It's mere recitation.

He says that he was inspired by "On the Road" for his most recent album. And the lyrics are indeed quite literary. Hey, maybe he should try writing books.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

This Means War

“We need not talk about our morale. As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through.”
-From the New York Times, “The War as We Saw It”, August 19, 2007

Somehow I missed this poignant Op-Ed piece in the Times in August, but I found myself reading and rereading it today. It was written by seven soldiers stationed in Iraq and mainly consists of a jumbled run-through of the war’s brief yet deeply disastrous history; the failed alliances, the directionless mission, the growing list of enemies, the sense that we’re more lost than we’ve ever been.

While Petraeus flubbed his way through Congressional hearings on the surge’s “progress” on Monday, FishbowlNY reports that two of the article’s authors died in a vehicle roll-over accident.

I thought about the strangers’ thoughts laid out before me while reading. I wondered which fallen soldier created what sentence, and what they possibly sacrificed in order to voice their dissent and disapproval.

They weren’t afraid to say what needed to be said; brave enough to admit defeat, and brave enough to honor a promise they made to this country before they were men. What gives.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Make You Do A Double Take

I'm supposed to be doing work for work at the moment and I will

I will!

But I just discovered a remix of one of my faaaaavorite Ra Ra songs left here by a fellow named Andrew.

Ra Ra Riot - Ghost Under Rocks (Da Remix)

I'm feeling it. Lifting the vocals out from under the dense strings certainly takes the song in a completely different direction. oooOOAAaaahooooo! carries a new intention. The ghosts come out to haunt.

But wait! There's more!

Apparently Andrew is in an upstate band of his own called the Magic Hour (my apologies if I'm totally blowing up your spot, but I must, you guys are terrific.) Lead singer Sterling Proffer is an inquisitive young man. "Where do you go to be alone?"

"Are you feeling kind of tired of me?" he wonders next.

Seemingly insecure, but he isn't. Proffer and co. have this thing down, making melody-driven songs with a steady assuredness.

And they don't even have a record deal. Oh my my.

I highly recommend checking the EP. Fresh. To. Death.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Goodbye Sound Team

Gorilla vs Bear informs that Sound Team has broken up. I've been listening to them all evening. I remember being so excited when I first heard this song.

Sound Team - Don't Turn Away

There's so much going on. It's a slow start that fools even the most trained ear into following a singular direction; the kick drum, Matt Oliver's voice. Pretty soon you learn to leave it up to the Team, layer upon layer work to create an atmospheric sound that surrounds.

I have yet to read the infamous Pitchfork review. I don't think I care to. Sometimes I think music journalism is the most subjective thing there is (well, falling short of politics, though ever so slightly.)

Good bye and good luck Sound Team. You will be missed.

Read Bill Baird's official goodbye on his blog.

Sound Team did an amazing set at Woxy last spring.

Their first trip to Daytrotter was pretty rad too

I Guess I'm Floating posted a new song awhile back that was supposed to be a teaser for their new record.

And here's a short film for another great song, "The Fastest Man Alive."

"Cos I can get along with anybody as long as you leave me alone"

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Fort Greene Fest

I unexpectedly found myself at the Fort Greene Fest yesterday, last minute plans that I'm glad worked out. The weather was beautiful, and the festival offered me some precious time to chill with friends. The day was filled with local jazz and soul musicians, apart from Talib Kweli, who was the headliner.

Talib was fun and energetic as usual, hating on the crowd for not buying his new record and giving a shout out to his fellow "babies of the 70's!!!" His one-time protege, Jean Grae, came out on stage to join him. I love this chick! She's an impeccable lyricist and can roll with the best of them. I haven't heard from her in a minute. I remember seeing her two summers ago, thinking she was the next big thing, but alas, that came and went. Well, hopefully she gets the recognition she deserves and soon.

I enjoyed another act as well, a young lady named Shae Fiol. She's originally from Oregon and has moved to Brooklyn to launch her music career (like so many do these days it seems.) One of my friends thinks she sounds like "that lady who made a good first record but now sucks," referring to Nelly Furtado. I think she sounds like a soulful, pre-"Konichiwa Bitches" Robyn.

Comparisons aside, Shae has a knowing artistic soul about her, and is incredibly talented. Check for her album to drop at the end of the year she says. I picked up an EP of hers at the show, and have been listening to this song since.

Shae Fiol - I'll Be Waiting

It's going to be hard to leave.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Ra Ra!

Hunter invited me along to see the Editors with her last night at Webster Hall. It was my first time at the venue, and an aside, but, why does everyone hate on Webster? It is that lame night club after-hours, and security is supposedly strict about flash photography, but I didn't mind it.

Last night was one of those shows that I didn't really know what to expect. I must confess I knew all of two Editors songs prior, but sometimes it's cool to see a band live for the first time without knowing much of their material. Sometimes. I'm so glad I got to see Ra Ra Riot again!

I can't get over how great Ra Ra was! They performed a much tighter set than the last time I saw them, everyone sounded terrific. And there was soooo much energy from the crowd for Ra Ra's amazing opening act.

Yeti Don't Dance did an interview with guitarist Milo Bonacci not too long ago, and you can download a fun (and currently un-released) remix of "Each Year" over at Pitchfork.

A hard rock group from Scotland called Biffy Clyro was up next. Can't say they are my cup of tea, but I can certainly appreciate how talented they are. Apparently their most recent album, Puzzle, is a drastic departure from their usual edgier sound. It's true, I can see songs like "Machines" and "Love Has A Diameter" (which I couldn't find anywhere!) becoming huge hits on the alternative rock stations.

The Editors put on a very entertaining show. It's always nice to be pleasantly surprised, and I was. It's too funny how lead singer Tom Smith is played up to be some sort of rock dreamboat. They had the spotlight on him the entire night, and every time he moved to different parts of the stage, you could hear the girls (okay, myself included) in the crowd scream "OOOOH!"


I came home and fooled around on iTunes looking for all of the songs I liked, but the recordings sound very different from the live performance... I don't think I like them as much.

I do, however, enjoy this B-Side that the band played during the encore.

Editors - You Are Fading

And you might as well make a bologna sandwich out of those Interpol comparisons. Yes, many a pasty male has a nasally voice, but that's simply where the similarities end really. "Be more constructive with ya feedback please."

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Who Is This Pretty Young Thing?

hubba hubba.

So I had this thing called Site Meter on this blog for a day or two, but I opted to remove it just now. Not sure if this violates an ethical code of blogging, but two things I have learned from this social experiment; people sure do like Feist (can't blame you, I love her lots too), and Google searches can be hilarious.

Apparently, many people searching for the meaning of the acronym P.Y.T. come to My Life is a Stereo looking for the answer. "What is a P.Y.T.?" someone typed.

I will not judge. Perhaps it is not your fault that you are unfamiliar with Michael Jackson's monster hits and stud-muffin looks from the 80's. Perhaps you grew up in a town or place where "Thriller" only meant a genre of movie or book. Or the local amusement park's wooden roller coaster ride. I will not judge.

But my! How you've missed out on one of the most beautiful pop songs in all the years! I welcome you to a listen

Michael Jackson - P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)

Those power-house synths didn't just show up on the new Kanye West/T-Pain joint by themselves. They were born in another time and place, just like MJ's silver glove. He had me at 'Tenderoni.' So romantic, that Michael is.

Find a spot that's playing some funky soul this evening, and be sure to "dance the night away." It's a Friday, you know you want to.

And in all of that, in case you missed it, P.Y.T. stands for Pretty Young Thing :)

Glass Houses

photo courtesy of TheBetamaxDoctrina's Flickr collection

From Racked:

Right out of the gate, the new Marc Jacobs menswear store on Bleecker Street is making its presence known. An intrepid tipster sent us these snaps of t-shirts featuring the faces of disgraced Congress member Larry Craig and Evangelical preacher Ted Haggard currently on display in the window of the boutique. Hopefully this is a series, because we'd like to see a Mark Foley top next.

Love it.


Manu Chao may have released what could be his biggest album to date this week, but I've only begun to fall in love with an older record of his, Clandestino. It happened when Hunter and I accidentally stumbled upon this awesome vintage store about a month ago. I had to ask the clerk what Manu Chao CD they were playing (even knowing a couple of his songs, that voice is so recognizable.)

“Clandestino” is a fantastic record. Each song flows into the next so well, it feels like a long trip from home, to all the places far and between. Sometimes Manu takes his time getting his point across, other times he works it into a frenzy of congas and horns. I really like the conversational tone of it all, sounds reminiscent of old transistor radio signals fade in and out of the recording. I also marvel at the meshing of languages. The world isn’t a melting pot, but it all seems to meet in Manu’s words and music.

It’s not all a party, one of my choice songs is a sad love song for Mother Earth.

Manu Chao – Por El Suelo

iTunes surprisingly doesn’t have Clandestino in stock, but you can download a copy of Manu's latest, La Radiolina, there.

I’ll get around to listening to La Radiolina eventually, I think I like the first single already.

Manu Chao - Rainin in Paradize

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Have You Seen These Kids? Vol. 2

Sitting on a bench in the sun during my lunch hour yesterday, I started to think about ‘sitting on a bench in the sun’-type songs. A band called Pilate came to mind.

I found out about these guys from my favorite college radio station. The first time I heard "Into Your Hideout," it filled my heart with glee.

Pilot Speed - Into Your Hideout

Lead singer Todd Clark's best Bono impersonation and the shimmering guitars did me in. Oh how my ears were elated.

I hadn't heard about Pilate in awhile and decided to see what was up. I looked online yesterday and to my surprise their name isn't Pilate anymore, it's Pilot Speed. And they released what appears to be a very exciting album called “Into the West” last year.

Here's a newer track that I discovered yesterday

Pilot Speed - Knife-Grey Sea

I think my favorite will always be "Alright." It’s such a lovely song, and it comes with an even lovelier video.

Pilot Speed is currently touring around Canada in support of “Into the West.” Hmmm, I wonder if we can bribe them to cross the border again with Hunter’s awesome cupcakes?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Because I Love It

So there’s been a lot of noise surrounding a certain Ms. Spears with the release of her new singles lately. Hell, even I grew curious, telling my friends to listen to the disaster that is "Gimme More" almost entirely for the part where Britney screams, “It’s Britney Bitches!!!” Love it.

I don’t love it because it’s good music. It isn't. Homegirl still can not sing, and although the beats and production are definitely on point, there really isn’t much substance to the songs and they feel a bit uninspired. And yet the songs have been all over the radio airwaves and the internet. Does this surprise me? No, it’s sensational and yet another window with which to peer into Britney’s curious new life.

I bring this up to compare the spotlight Britney is receiving for releasing two feeble singles to the attention surrounding another pop star who has been gone from the scene for awhile and is chancing it for a comeback. I’ve been digging several of Amerie’s leaked tracks from her forthcoming “Because I Love It” for quite some time now. I read a review of the record on Pitchfork last week, not realizing that it was for the album’s release in Asia. It pains me to say that her album still hasn’t been released in the States, and from a recent Ask Billboard, it appears that won’t happen until early next year (yikes!)

Until then, take a listen to the album’s first single called “Take Control,” which is still everywhere on the internet. My personal favorite is “Crazy Wonderful.” I remember hearing this jam last winter, it’s a damn good track

Amerie – Crazy Wonderful

Ms. Spears’ record will probably be released as soon as she gets around to recording 8 more tracks. “Because I Love It” is a great pop album that needs to be heard right now.

Funny how that works.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor Day

Three Wishes

"Would you like a ribbon?" the pretty Brazilian girl asked me. "What color? Red means power."
"What does blue mean?"
"Water I think."
"Okay I'll take those two."
"You put it around your wrist and then you make three wishes and then the ribbon falls off and then your wishes come true. Would you like me to tie it for you?"
"Sure. What do the words mean?"
"Lembranca do Senhor do Bonfim da Bahia... it's the name of this saint in Bahia, is like, saying come to Bahia."

3 wishes. I could only think of one.

Elliott Smith - Happiness

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Goodbye Summer

The summer solstice has nearly left us, and yet today marked the first time I visited a beach the entire season. I'd forgotten how fun it can be.

The Times Magazine has an interesting profile on Rick Rubin as he assumes his new exec post with Columbia. Interesting insights on the future of the music biz as well as Rubin's illustrious career, it's an excellent read.

For those of you that actually dig into the article, does it surprise you that the holistic, nature-obsessed Rubin drives a Range Rover? Just sayin.

Good night.